Welcome home, Reese!

MERCERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A special little girl received a big welcome home on Friday.

More than a third of Reese Burdette’s body was burned in a fire on the Memorial Day weekend of 2014. Her heart and lungs were severely damaged by the smoke.

“She was so critically ill and there were so many times that she wasn’t expected to live,” said Suzanne Johnson, a family friend, “but she kept fighting.”

Burdette fought for nearly two years in a Baltimore hospital.

“Way back when this journey began, shortly after she came out of the coma, she did say to me one day, “Pap-pap, please take me home’,” grandfather Jim Burdette said, “and I said, ‘you can’t go home until you get better’.”

000004That day finally arrived and Burdette’s hometown of Mercersburg gave her a hero’s welcome. Hundreds of people lined the streets. Schoolmates shouted, “We love Reese!”

“We’re all yelling and screaming. We’re just really excited,” said Daisy Donahoe, Burdette’s friend.

Purple, Burdette’s favorite color, was everywhere as a symbol of support.

“It’s not unexpected because Mercersburg does this,” Johnson said. “Everybody has become so invested in Reese and the family.”

After nearly two years of waiting, the small town’s big hero is finally home.

“From day one, the community support and the support of our agriculture industry and our dairy industry have been completely overwhelming,” Jim Burdette said. “It keeps you going.”

That love and support will surely continue.

“Reese, keep fighting even though you’re at home,” Donahoe said.

“God’s got something special for her to do,” Jim Burdette said.

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